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Nov 13, 2015 11:14 AM EST

Autism increasing among U.S. kids

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According to a new government estimate of the prevalence of Autism in 2014, about 1 in 45 Children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, Livescience reports.

The report is the first one on Autism in the U.S. to include data from the years 2011 to 2014, according to the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report is based on data collected during the yearly National Health Interview Survey, from interviews of parents about their children. Nearly 12,000 parents of children ages 3 to 17 were interviewed in 2014, and about 11,000 parents were interviewed each year from 2011 to 2013.

"One in 45 is what we think is the most accurate parental report of autism to date. I think within this report we found that the way that we ask the parents about autism spectrum disorder can have an impact on the way the parents respond to the question," said Benjamin Zablotsky, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics who helped lead the study, Today reports.

Robert Fitzgerald, an epidemiologist in psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research, said that the incidence of autism seems to be rising because the awareness of the condition has increased which has led to more children being identified.

He added that in the past some kids now considered to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were labeled as having an "intellectual disability". Also, the stigma of having autism has now decreased, resulting in increase in support and services for children with autism.

"What we call an autism spectrum disorder now is a much wider group of symptoms than what we called autism in the past so I think that captures a larger number of children that might have received other diagnoses in the past," Katherine Walton, of the Ohio State University, said, according to Medicalxpress.

Fitzgerald told Live Science that the results of the report were also affected by how the parents understand and interpret the questions they are asked during an interview.

He said that it is likely that the U.S. will continue to see an increase in cases of autism as results from the last 10 years have shown increases in prevalence rates.

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